... The Polar Commission was created by the federal government in September 1991. It was the result of two federal studies and much consultation with Canadian research institutions, universities and northern residents. Both reports were clear on the need for a Polar Commission. The mandate of the 12-member Board of Directors directs it to monitor and report on the state of knowledge in polar regions through a variety of means. The Commission also has the responsibility to help disseminate knowledge about polar regions, nationally and internationally, to work with northern and southern institutions fostering understanding about science and research in polar regions and to advise the federal government and others on northern issues. To the Commission itself that means ensuring that the scientific research carried out in polar regions is of the highest possible standards and at all times takes into account the concerns and interests of the northern peoples. ... A priority of the Polar Commission will be to ... develop a plan to encourage northern involvement and participation in research activities in the northern regions. Hand in hand with that, the Commission would like to see the use of traditional knowledge expanded. We believe that it is important that all Canadians and all northerners recognize the tremendous benefit indigenous knowledge can play in northern research in many areas, including health, social issues and justice. We also think that there should be initiatives with northern communities to develop methods for recording, disseminating and using traditional knowledge. The Board of Directors also wants to enhance academic study on northern regions. We would like to see scholarly study on important northern issues in law, politics, economics and the natural and applied sciences increased. In addition, we see the need for more interdisciplinary study. We hope to either encourage institutions to develop journals to record and distribute this material or identify journals that are already in existence and encourage them to expand into broader areas of scholarly study. These two initiatives are given to show the breadth of what constitutes science in northern regions.
The prehistoric avian fauna from the Charlie Lake Cave site, Peace River District, British Columbia, spans the last 10,500 years and includes birds from eleven orders. Prior to about 10,000 B.P. the fauna is sparse and the most common species is Cliff Swallow (Hirundo pyrrhonota), which probably nested at the site. The avian fauna from 10,000 B.P. to the present is dominated by wetland associated birds (mainly grebes and ducks) of the same species found in the area today and is consistent with the establishment of boreal forest by 10,000 B.P. From about 8000 B.P. Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) occurs and appears to have been a regular component of the local fauna. The assemblages demonstrate rapid colonization of boreal environments by bird populations by 10,000 B.P. and probably indicate that the modern patterns of migration were established early in the Holocene.
Aerial surveys of Jones Sound, N.W.T., reveal a highly clumped distribution of black guillemots in the early spring and throughout the breeding season. Black guillemots are uncommon throughout much of Jones Sound except at its mouth and in the western portion. By September most guillemots have left the area. Both early spring and breeding distributions appear to be influenced by the Hell Gate and Cardigan Strait polynya located in western Jones Sound between Ellesmere and Devon islands. Evidence presented suggests that annual variation in the distribution of ice edges in Jones Sound may influence distribution of breeding birds among suitable breeding sites.
The numbers and distribution of Greater Snow Geese on Bylot Island and near Jungersen Bay, Baffin Island, in 1988 and 1983
Arctic, v. 45, no. 2, June 1992, p. 115-119, ill., maps
ASTIS record 32489
We conducted aerial photographic surveys of greater snow geese on portions of Bylot Island and northern Baffin Island during August 1988 to determine whether changes had occurred since a similar survey in 1983. On the 1600 sq/km south plain of Bylot Island, using a quadrat system and stratified random sampling, we estimated a population of 26,300 breeding adults, 5,400 failed- and non-breeding adults, and 41,400 goslings; the breeding component had increased by 58% from the 1983 survey. In a 274 sq/km study area in Jungersen Bay on northern Baffin Island, we conducted total counts and recorded 2,555 adult breeders, 546 failed- and non-breeders, and 4,127 goslings; the breeding segment had declined by 15% since 1983. The later date of the survey in 1988, relative to that of 1983, is believed to have been the main cause of a more even distribution of broods among strata on Bylot Island and may have contributed to an underestimation of breeding geese at Jungersen Bay. Both survey areas supported high densities of breeding greater snow geese in both years. Bylot Island supported a similar proportion of the entire greater snow goose breeding population in 1988 (13%) and 1983 (15%).
Two anadromous Dolly Varden, tagged in the Wulik River, Alaska, during September 1988, were recaptured in the Anadyr River, U.S.S.R., one in August 1989 and one in August 1990. Two additional tag recoveries were made south of the Bering Strait, one near Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, and one near Egavik in Norton Sound, Alaska. The greatest distance traveled was 1690 km. This is the first record of fish movement between freshwaters of Alaska and the U.S.S.R. and the longest documented movement of a Dolly Varden or Arctic char.
Linkages between presumed global climate change and agricultural production will enable the development of management strategies to meet the needs of a diverse and future world agricultural enterprise. This study evaluated characteristic trends in the growing season length and dates of the last spring and first fall freezes at eight climate stations in Alaska between 1924 and 1989. Two minimum temperature criteria of 0 degrees and -3 degrees were used in assessing freeze dates. Half of the stations had no change in growing season length over the last 65 years, whereas the other four stations had a lengthening of the season. Tendencies for longer seasons were in part a result of earlier spring freezes. The growing season shortened at three stations during the period 1940-70, which corresponded with declining Northern Hemisphere temperatures. The presence of changes in the growing season over the last 65 years was apparent in Alaska temperature records.
This article assesses a recent body of research on economic development and socio-political change in northern and other remote regions of developed Western nations. The regions include northern Canada, Alaska, northern Scandinavia, Australia's Northern Territory, and Micronesia. Research topics covered are theoretical perspectives, resource development, Native claims, and village economies. "Remote regions" are physically, economically, and politically distant from centers of wealth and power, they are culturally or ethnically diverse and sparsely settled; and they exhibit extreme limits on their autonomy, self-sufficiency, and welfare. "Development" of these regions is defined as the overcoming of internal and external obstacles to change in conditions associated with their remoteness. The authors ask whether the research has increased our understanding of the nature of these regions and of their development problems. Their answer is generally affirmative, but they also identify specific research gaps, problems, and needs. The latter include needs for more explicit theorizing, comparative and historical approaches, and research on resource ownership, Native claims outcomes, village subsistence, and population migration.
This paper reports on an unusual archaeological feature discovered at the Cadfael site (NiNg-17) on southeastern Victoria Island. Two large boulders apparently served as anvil stones on which quartzite cobbles were fractured. Lithic debris remained in situ on and around the boulders, preserving the materials and spatial arrangements as abandoned by the last flintknappers. Analysis of one boulder and the associated artifacts demonstrates that a bipolar technology was employed to split cobbles, presumably to obtain large flakes for use as, or for making into, tools. As far as is known, no similar features have been reported in the literature on the Canadian Arctic, although potential candidates exist on Baffin Island and at Great Bear Lake. The age and cultural affiliation of the Cadfael site anvil boulders are undetermined; however an association with the Late Dorset culture, dating to about 1000 years ago, seems most likely.
The native people of Alaska rely on access to land for subsistence resources. As a result of a series of congressional acts, about 88% of Alaska's land is now managed by federal or state agencies. For native people to retain their subsistence use of resources they must affect agency management decisions. Effective participation in the decision process requires clear translation between English and native languages, of which there are 20 in Alaska. Translation to these languages, even those with few speakers, is important because: elders, the primary decision makers in native communities, are most likely to speak the native language; language survival relates directly to cultural survival; and land management agencies have become the latest Western institutions to suppress native language and culture. Translation, however, is difficult due to substantial differences in English and native language vocabularies, particularly in the area of land management. Three solutions are proposed: training of translators and support of "two-way" terminology workshops; development of a unified glossary of agency management terms; and use of traditional (native) place names and terms by agencies. Agencies are encouraged to provide support to implement these solutions.
We summarize observations of foraging northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) in the Barrow Strait-Lancaster Sound region of the Northwest Territories from June to September 1984-90 and in Admiralty Inlet, N.W.T., in July 1989. In each year, fulmars scavenged hunter-killed marine mammal remains in the vicinity of Resolute Bay. Large feeding flocks, aggregated primarily along tide lines and at upwelling sites, exploited primarily calanoid copepods by surface seizing and diving. Late-season onshore movement of Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) resulted in flocks of several thousand fulmars capturing cod by surface and pursuit diving. We determined experimentally that northern fulmars are capable of diving to 3 m to retrieve cod.
Physical characteristics of 73 arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) dens in Svalbard are described. In a mountainous study area of 975 sq/km, most dens were found below 200 m and none was found above 400 m. Most dens were located in slopes in valleys or along the coast, facing in a southerly direction (mean aspect 222 degrees). Dens had an average of 9.8 entrances and a mean size of 52.1 sq/m. Snow cover was less over dens than on adjacent areas in winter. Vegetation at dens was different than at adjacent areas. Of 56 dens found in the study area, 3 were burrows and the rest were situated under boulders, in screes or in bedrock. Dens were situated in dry localities, most often in protruding bedrock and ridges where foxes had an unrestricted view.
The great diversity of terrestrial arthropods in the Arctic suggests that these organisms are especially useful to monitor environmental change there, where warming as a result of climatic change is expected to be especially pronounced and where current conditions are limiting for many organisms. Based on existing information about arctic faunas and how they differ from temperate ones, this paper suggests several elements, including ratios and other quantitative indexes, that can be used for long-term evaluations of change. These elements include composition indexes, range limits, marker species, interspecific ratios, relationship shifts, phenological and physiological indicators, and key sites. Using such elements in a planned way would exploit the diversity of arctic insects and emphasize their importance in arctic systems.
Thick-billed murre (Uria lomyia) hunting by Inuit of West Greenland was surveyed during the winter and spring of 1988/89. Kill toll levels and age structure of the kill were determined for districts between Upernavik (73 degrees N) and Nanortalik (60 degrees N). Based on counts of the numbers of birds available for purchase at markets and on information from processing companies, an estimated 100,000 murres were killed for commercial trading purposes in 1988/89. Non-commercial hunting is harder to assess, but estimates based on the number of licences issued and the mean number of murres killed per day by non-commercial hunters indicate that between 190,000 and 293,000 murres are killed per annum. Thus the total kill toll is estimated to be between 283,000 and 386,000 murres annually. In Central West and Southwest Greenland the peak hunting period was November and December, but hunting continued to 15 March or until ice conditions prevented sailing. Age distribution of the kill was determined by classifying 6278 murres as "first-year" or "older" by the development of the cranium. In Southwest Greenland the proportion of older birds in the kill was always below 9%, whereas in Central West Greenland (Nuuk) the value increased from 27.5% in October to 75.8% old birds in March. About 90% of the murres killed in spring near major breeding colonies in Upernavik were adult breeding birds, and hunting near the breeding grounds is considered the major cause for population reductions. Murres shot in winter are mostly birds from colonies outside Greenland, but though it has yet to be proved, the immense kill of murres during the winter hunt probably affects the populations involved.
Following the abandonment of John Ross's expedition ship Victory in Lord Mayor Bay in 1832, Ross's nephew and second-in-command, James Clark Ross, led a separate forward sledging group for much of the retreat to Somerset Island. While John Ross described the events of his own sledging group in his published narrative, he provided essentially no information on James Clark Ross's group. Recently, the journal kept by James Clark Ross during the retreat was located, and it forms the subject of this article. The journal covers the period from 4 May to 14 October 1832, during which the Victory was abandoned, an attempt (eventually aborted) made to escape using sledges and boats via Port Leopold, and preparations made to spend the winter of 1832-33 at Fury Beach.
Historically, in Canada, popular and professional interest in river and lake ice were high. In this century, however, there has been a noticeable lack of "formal" interest. In addition, much of the popular and engineering interest in lake and river ice failed to be translated into the development of glaciology. Canadians, who have ignored "home-grown" science and local knowledge in favour of European scientific publications, have failed to recognize the important contribution to glaciology made by Tyrrell and Dumble.
The Inuit of the Mackenzie Delta area who called themselves "Siglit", built winter homes not out of snow, but of driftwood, and in villages which they occupied annually. This article discusses the earliest historical record of Siglit architecture and building techniques including ventilation and insulation.